Webb: When First We Practice to Deceive
Just last November we heard that the James Webb Space Telescope was at least 1.5 billion over it's 5 billion budget. At the time it needed an immediate 500 million to meet a launch date of 2016. What a Tangled Webb We Weave. At the beginning of this week we learned that LISA and IXO, two surviving mission concepts from NASA's Beyond Einstein program, would lose all funding due to the mounting costs of JWST. WFIRST, formerly JDEM/SNAP/DESTINY, an ill-starred attempt to quantify "dark energy," was deferred indefinitely. Monday April 11, in testimony before a US Senate committee, Charlie Bolden said NASA doesn't want any extra funds for JWST. He implied that the telescope will not fly until at least 2018. Once we had a goal to reach the Moon in this decade, but Bolden and his boss seem willing to let the Moon slip away too.
The longer a Space project takes to fly, the more costs mount. JWST was originally estimated to cost about 1 billion, but will cost over 6.5 billion. When a "dark energy" mission was first proposed, it was also to cost less than a billion. It is common in government to low-ball the cost estimates to get a project started. WFIRST would take at least 7 years to develop after JWST launches, so the dream of a "dark energy" mission slips again to after the year 2025.
The hypothesis of an accelerating universe is based entirely on the redshifts of Type Ia supernovae. The cosmic microwave background, dating from only 380,000 years after the Big Bang, tells us nothing about acceleration. Redshifts are roughly equal to v/c, an objects velocity divided by the speed of light. A child could figure out what hundreds of physicists have overlooked: the universe is not accelerating, but light has been slowing down. Long before any "dark energy" mission flies, there will be evidence of a real "c change" in Physics.
Labels: speed of light